Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in
Retail & E-Commerce

RPA enhances sales and provides a competitive edge to the company

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One of the economic sectors with the quickest growth is the retail & eCommerce industry. Emerging countries, in particular, are driving growth as global retail sales are expected to increase 5% per year to around $27.33 trillion in 2023 according to the marketer. In order to win new customers and increase customer loyalty, companies rely on unique technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA). No matter how the organization operates—stationary, online, or across several channels—many processes take a long time, and human error can affect their quality. When it comes to the steps involved, there is a lot that happens before a product reaches the retail shelf and is ready for sale. Including sales analytics and supply chain management, a retail chain has several operations that are still done manually.

robotic process automation in retail

RPA applied in the retail sector

The business operations in retail are significantly more complex than most people initially think. Instead, the procedures cover everything from managing suppliers in purchasing to organizing the supply chain in branches, distribution centers, and logistics hubs to applying business intelligence and analytics technologies to analyze sales data in central organizational units. A large part of these processes (e.g., order-to-cash or procure-to-pay) was previously processed manually. In the meantime, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be utilized to help businesses automate their more and more existing operations.

Typical RPA applications (solutions) in retail and e-commerce

The following are the applications or solutions showing how software robots RPA can optimize processes in the retail industry:

Returning goods

Online trade, in particular, has contributed to an increase in the number of items being delivered directly to customers. However, since the consumer did not have a chance to inspect the goods until they received them, there are more returns due to inaccurate product descriptions. These returns must be manually processed, which takes a lot of time and adds a lot of money to the process. The significant staff expenses linked to such processing are the major cause of this. Through the use of RPA, this process can be automated. After the incoming goods have been checked for completeness by an employee, the software robot can document the incoming goods and automatically adjust the stock of the underlying database.

Customer Service 24/7

In recent years, the customer has played an increasingly central role in retail, as he has to make the final purchase decision. Many businesses rely on their customer service, which handles a wide range of consumer complaints, to build long-term customer loyalty. Because modern clients want speedy responses, customer care typically has to be provided around the clock in e-commerce. The software robots used in RPA make it possible to provide quick and convenient customer care every day of the year. When the consumer places the order, the robot registers it and immediately notifies the customer of the order's progress and anticipated delivery date. However, the process need not conclude with delivery. Instead, it is feasible to get consumer feedback after the order has been placed by using an RPA solution. This allows processes to be optimized and costs to be sustainably reduced.

Logistics and Supply chain

Retailers can operate globally and get the items from the supplier to the end customer by managing their logistics and supply chain effectively. This makes it easy to keep track of the available inventory, allowing the provider to receive informed orders. Since the supply chain depends so heavily on back-office operations, the deployment of RPA in this sector is particularly pertinent. Automated initiation of orders and closer integration with the supplier plays a decisive role here. The use of technology also makes it possible for orders to be tracked automatically, improving planning.

Managing Workflow

Customer engagement is one task that must be performed manually in the retail sector because it is mostly a human-driven sector. However, using RPA can help manage the workflow and other HR activities more effectively. Everything is made simpler with robotic process automation (RPA), including scheduling shifts, tracking time and attendance, auditing sales, managing payroll and leaves of absence, and rating staff performance. Finance & Accounting Controlling and financial accounting have recently been handled mostly by professionals in the organization.

However, this field is characterized by error-prone, heavily manual processes These processes can be automated, which has several benefits. In the context of digitization, the need to simplify existing mass processes is becoming increasingly important and RPA is a suitable measure for implementation. It is possible to monitor payments effectively, as well as incoming and outgoing bills. However, it is equally simple and effective to represent other accounting processes. Above all, the ability to automate accounting and then automatically submit the needed balance sheet to the appropriate departments for verification provides benefits to businesses. In addition, accounts that are created within a company must also be posted and documented. Here RPA is also capable of gathering and documenting the necessary transactions in this situation. The required reference to the company's internal ERP can then be initiated. Overall, RPA helps to save costs and free up important capacities in this area.

RPA Advantages in Retail & Ecommerce

  • Lower delivery hazards
  • Increased compliance
  • More effective user support
  • Multitasking assistance
  • Adequate auditing
  • Reduced operational expenses

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